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More than 200 000 university students will be left without adequate housing when the university year kicks off in February 2016. A boom in higher education has resulted in a major accommodation shortfall, with university heads conceding that the situation has reached crisis levels.

With university budgets facing major constraints and cutbacks from national government, student accommodation in South Africa is in a dire state. The knock on effect of poor accommodation is directly linked to the high failure rate at universities.

Despite the increased allocations towards upgrading and new residences at some universities, rising maintenance costs, ageing residences and other problems have limited the growth options for student housing.

“The likelihood of a first year student passing is increased from 60% to 80% if they stay in residence,” John Schooling, MD of student accommodation group, STAG African said. “The negative pass rate is even more staggering at previously disadvantaged universities, where it is common for six or more students to share a room, simply because there is no alternative.”

The problem for universities is that the cost of student accommodation is very expensive. Using green building practices, STAG African is able to reduce building time by 40% and the costs associated to it dramatically. At universities, where cost ultimately is the deciding factor, sustainable, environmentally building is an obvious economic choice.

“Through optimal architectural design and product innovation, the cost of building student accommodation can be brought down dramatically,” Schooling said. “Accommodation for students is more than providing a place to sleep; it’s about creating communities; a listening, learning and living environment. This is crucial to the success of the housing facilities provided by the university,” says Schooling.

In an effort to reduce the student accommodation shortfall, STAG African have set their sights on providing 50 000-beds to the value of R11-billion over the next five years throughout Africa.

ENDS

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Distributed by Be-cause Integrated Communications

Beverley Houston

Beverley@be-cause.co.za

021 447 1082 / 082 824 8617

On behalf of STAG African

Director: John Schooling

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